We did a really fun unit on leaves a few weeks ago, and ever since then, the kids have been noticing and pointing out different kinds of leaves and trees and getting really excited when they see some lingering fall color. During our unit, I showed them a picture of a ginkgo leaf and tree and told them that it was one of my favorites. So as we looked at all the many oaks and maples in our area, we kept our eyes on the lookout for a ginkgo. After a week or so of looking (and not finding one), we began to wonder if maybe they don't grow in our state. I went online and we found that indeed they do, and that there are some in our downtown area (at least a 30 minute drive from us).
It finally got to the point that whenever we were out in the van, the kids would check out nearly every yellow-leafed tree we passed at 40 mph, shouting, "Is that a Ginkgo? I think I see a Ginkgo!" Alas, they were only maples. So last Friday, while my Mother was here for a visit, I decided we would make an impromptu trip downtown to find this elusive tree. I went on Mapquest and printed off some very intricate directions to a park, which I had never heard of, that was supposed to have some ginkgo trees. The kids (and Grandma and I) were so excited about our adventure, and we all piled into the van with me praying that our efforts would be rewarded. As we neared downtown, I got off at the exit and prepared to follow the directions, knowing that we had several miles to go before we reached this off-the-beaten-path park. Well, immediately after getting off the interstate and crossing under a bridge, I looked ahead and on my right was a very tall, very bright yellow tree. I said, "Mama, I think that's a Ginkgo!" We were on a very trafficky road, so I made a quick pass by and glanced over just long enough to see whether or not it had the distinctive fan-shaped leaves. It did! I whipped into a gas station, turned around, and headed back. The kids were in a tizzy of excitement by now, and thankfully, God had placed this tree right next to a back entrance to a cemetery so that we could easily get off the busy road and see it up close. We all jumped out of the van into the very cold air, and ran up this sloping hill to what was one of the prettiest ginkgo trees I've ever seen. It was as if we'd struck gold! The kids were ahead of my mother and me scooping up handfuls of the bright yellow fans. The leaves were soft and pliable, unlike most of the dry, brittle leaves we have collected this year. Of course, we took some photos and brought home some leaves, which we pressed between sheets of wax paper. It thrilled my heart to see my children so excited over part of God's creation. I pray that their love of nature continues to grow and deepen.
Thank you to everyone for your kind comments. I enjoy reading them and visiting your blogs as well!